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    Archived pages: 122 . Archive date: 2013-07.

  • Title: Jonathan's Story: Day 2 - Haven
    Descriptive info: Home.. Print Page.. November 2012.. March 2013.. May 2013.. Jonathan's Story: Day 2.. We had a 7am start, quick breakfast of fresh pineapple and mangos and headed down to the jetty.. A thirty minute boat ride up the coast to Madam Bernard, left me soaked to the skin.. 10 minutes later I was dry.. Today was a day of digging, trenches, playgrounds and a new path.. By 10.. 30am the temperature had hit 30C and every worker looked out on their feet.. Working with many enthusiastic locals means we are flying through the work.. By 4.. 30pm everyone silently dragged their bodies down to the local bar, a shack, decorated with a Dublin and Irish flag, that has one type of bottled beer and  ...   got a boost off the coconut water.. The island is picture of beauty but the locals don t treat disposing of their litter like we re used to back home.. The result is the streets and shoreline are covered in rubbish as everything is disgarded out of hand.. Jonathan Cairns.. #HavenHaiti.. Every evening from Haiti we hope to give a little run down of how the day has gone and what we've been up to so please stay tuned and share the link with all your friends and family.. Please note, all views and comments are Jonathan's own and not that of Haven.. For up to the minute news you can follow Haven on Twitter at.. @HavenHaiti.. or Facebook at.. Facebook.. com/HavenPartnership.. Back to top..

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  • Title: Jonathan's Story: Day 1 - Haven
    Descriptive info: Jonathan's Story: Day 1.. Departed NY JFK on the 25th May 9.. 35am on the last leg of our journey.. We stepped off a boat 12 hours later on the island of Ile a Vache, Haiti.. 28 volunteers, tired, travel weary, yet in remarkably good form, tucked into our first meal on Haitian soil.. Landing in Port au Prince airport, and bussing through the capital, was an experience.. The scene was somewhere between mayhem and organised chaos.. The city is colourful and pumping with life.. With 4.. 5 million inhabitants, all of whom seemed to be on the streets either purchasing or trading, reminded me of a casbah, a street market I had visited as a child in Turkey.. The traffic was unusual as the streets have no traffic lights.. I still don't know which side of the road we were travelling on.. Traffic jams are random and frequent.. Looking out of our semi-airconditioned coach, I felt for the locals unfortunate enough to be stuck on local busses, packed in like sardines in temperatures of around 40 degrees centigrade.. Our quick stop, half way into the 6 hour bus ride,  ...   i.. e.. traffic, over 40 degree centigrade heat, sea lice, biting sand flies and big hairy spiders.. Nobody ever mentioned that you can be chased out of a room by a cockroach though.. The island has a population of 11,000.. Our HQ for this trip is St Francois dAssisi Orphanage in a town called Madam Bernard.. 70 kids, many of them severely disabled and in wheelchairs, reminded us pretty quickly just why we're here.. Sunday 26th May is a feast day on the island.. Those of us interested had the option of going to mass, where most of the Madam Bernard inhabitants would be.. Fr John, a French-Canadian posted in Haiti over 30 years ago, took his time and 3 hours later the procession left the church and proceeded to the pier to bless the sea, before heading to the orphanage for refreshments.. We've been separated into teams and allocated our jobs for the week.. These include house renovation, painting, putting in a playground and upgrading a path from the orphanage to the sea as many children have to be carried down to the water regularly for physical therapy.. Jonathan Cairns..

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  • Title: Interview with Alice O'Regan - Haven
    Descriptive info: Interview with Alice O'Regan.. Alice O'Regan, Haven's Volunteer Coordinator, shares her experiences of volunteering in this blog post as well as dicussing Haven's new Volunteer Programme and what makes this new programme different.. 1.. Tell us about yourself.. I m from Clonmel, Co Tipp.. I did my undergrad in UCD in History and Economics.. After doing such a broad degree I decided to specialise and did a Masters in the School of Oriental and African Studies in London in Development Studies.. I have done quite a lot of volunteering in my time, in both Ireland and abroad.. I spent a few months in Costa Rica volunteering in national parks and with turtles.. I also volunteered teaching children in Tanzania and in India.. My experiences abroad and the subjects I chose at uni all contributed to my decision to pursue a career in the charity and NGO sector.. 2.. What do you do as Volunteer Coordinator?.. As Volunteer Coordinator I recruit volunteers for the Volunteer Programme.. I am the point of contact for all Haven volunteers.. I help them with fundraising ideas and any questions they may have about the programme.. 3.. What motivates people to volunteer?.. Well, from my own experiences, I love to travel, but I also love experiencing a country, their culture and the people.. I have found that the best way to do this is to volunteer with the local community.. It gives you such an insight into another culture.. Volunteering is also a way to give back and contribute to something on a wider scale.. Even volunteering in your own community is so rewarding and a nice way to spend your free time.. 4.. What is the.. Haven Volunteer Programme.. ?.. Haven s new Volunteer Programme will see Haven s volunteers work side by side with local communities partaking in programmes designed around Haven s three core development areas; Water Sanitation, Shelter and Training Education.. Interaction with  ...   How is the new.. different than previous Build It Weeks?.. The new Volunteer Programme is a move away from the house building structure of previous trips.. The Programme is more about community development.. Volunteers will be working with the local communities on Ile a Vache on projects that will contribute to building sustainable communities.. 7.. What kind of people volunteer with Haven?.. People from all walks of life volunteer with Haven.. We have young and old, men and women, families, doctors, builders, and bankers.. Everyone has a skill that they can contribute to the Programme.. 8.. What can volunteers expect when they return home?.. We provide a debriefing meeting for all volunteers on return.. We maintain contact with volunteers throughout the year.. 9.. How much does it cost to travel on the.. Volunteers are required to raise 4,500 which covers the cost of materials needed for the project, transport to and from Haiti and accommodation and food throughout the Progamme.. Although it is a lot, it s surprising how generous people are despite the current economic climate.. We provide a letter of authorisation to volunteers as well as all the materials needed for an event including buckets, t-shirts, sponsorship cards and posters.. If you put your thinking cap on, you d be surprised at the fundraising ideas you can come up with.. 10.. Where can people can more information?.. For more information, people can email me at.. alice.. oregan@havenpartnership.. or ring me on 01 6815 443.. Also check out our facebook page for pictures of past programmes.. 11.. How can people sign up?.. People can sign up by calling me on 01 8615 443 or emailing me at.. I would encourage anybody who is even thinking about volunteering to give me a call and we can talk though all your options- ranging from when best would suit you to travel to fun and inspired fundraising ideas to kick start your fundraising campaign..

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  • Title: GUEST BLOG: Mark Keogh (Haven Volunteer) - Haven
    Descriptive info: GUEST BLOG: Mark Keogh (Haven Volunteer).. When I was asked to write a blog about my experience with Haven in Haiti, I initially said no as I don t think anything I could write would accurately explain what my experience was like but in the end I thought I should try.. Arriving in Port-Au-Prince on a hot November Saturday I was gobsmacked, the airport was a shack, like a derelict factory but with plenty of people yet looking outside you could see the landscape of a beautiful country.. Mountains shaped eloquently yet covering the horror beneath.. Soon shuffled to buses, we waited for the armed escort, a couple of police on scramblers and ex - armed forces in jeeps; I m sure the secret service was in the line aswel.. The drive through the city was one of the most horrifying and eye-opening experiences I ve ever witnessed, rubbish and rubble everywhere, people on top of people, cooking in the street, dogs scavenging for food along with people, pigs and chickens running wild, rivers embedded with rubbish showing a trickle of water when I m sure it was once flowing.. I could go on all day about what I witnessed in the short 18km to the Christianville campsite but the picture would never be developed accurately.. It can only be believed by your own eyes.. Arriving at the Christianville campsite, we were shuttled to our tents either one of the big ones or the smaller 4 man tents, luckily I was in the bigger ones which were a lot cooler.. The campsite gave you a sense of relief and security as things were normal here and you could be forgiven for forgetting everything outside of it.. Once settled it was dinner time in the huge dining tent.. We soon settled in the social area for an audience with President Jimmy Carter his wife Rosalyn.. A moving speech by the president and his wife set the tone for the work to come.. Afterwards we sat around getting to know each other, not knowing at the time that in a week I would be calling these people close friends of mine.. Sleep was soon on the agenda as the long haul to get here took its toll and with work ahead it was needed.. Awaking to the sound of Good Morning by The Beatles at 5.. 45am was one of the better ways to be woken up so early.. So now the fun began, breakfast first followed by sun cream insect repellent and off we went to the buses once more for the first day on site.. In the short trip to the build site, the horrors of the poverty and desperation from the previous day soon came flowing back to me.. Everywhere you looked was like a scene from a documentary about poverty.. Both shocking and emotional are the only way  ...   I never see another one of these again I ll only be too happy, 10 nails in each one and none of the holes were big enough, let just say after that day there was a lot of sore fingers on the bus home.. Once we got the roof sorted and finished with halve of us moved the concrete fibre slab that covered the timber walls and the other halve started the porch.. Time consuming is one way of putting these; measured, marked and drilled then hoisted into position to be screwed to the wall.. Altogether there were 30 of these slabs with about 500 screws.. The porch was pretty straight as they had metal clips anchored to the ground to hold the support and then beams held it in place, yet again more hurricane clips were timber was met with timber.. After the front porch we hoisted the back porch up and nailed it to the wall.. Moving on, we started on the doors, windows and the petition wall inside that gave the homeowner a room; although small to us the excitement on Alice s (one of our homeowners) eyes was evident.. Last but not least was the painting of both houses, primer first and two coats of the colour the Alice had picked.. Although not all hard work during the day, during our lunch break we did get to interact with some kids, through a fence albeit one which made you feel like a you were in a prison only you couldn t tell which side of the fence you would consider to be the prison.. Every now and again you would hear a hey you which over the course of the week turned into a Day-o , and off Padráig went into the chorus of the banana song with the kids singing and hanging onto his every word.. Probable the happiest moment we could have taken from the trip was the Conga Line we played with them.. Seeing every child grinning from ear to ear made you wonder what they would be like on a Christmas morning in Ireland.. The most memorable moment for me came on the final day when doing the dedication of the house when Alice, holding hands (with a translator in tow) said a few words, very few in fact but emotional.. No one except for God could do for me what you have done this week , a short sentence from a humble woman, and one that for the rest of my life I will never forget.. The strange thing is the sentence works both ways as I felt the same about the whole week.. The week was an emotional, fun and heart-warming experience that I will never forget and would encourage anybody to do it as I cannot wait to do it again.. Forever grateful to Haven, Haiti and Alice.. Mark Keogh..

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  • Title: Ciamhie's Story - Hugs, Sweat and Tears, plenty of tears! - Haven
    Descriptive info: Ciamhie's Story - Hugs, Sweat and Tears, plenty of tears!.. Hard to believe that this time last week we were standing in 40 degree heat, probably covered in splatters of paint with an abundance of freckles and sunburn with sweat dripping of us, fighting tears and tiredness! But without a moments thought, I'd go back in the morning and I think all my fellow volunteers would say the same! What a rollercoaster of a week! I don't think I've ever cried so much but also, I don't think I've ever laughed so much! The comraderie and banter onsite as life long friendships were made brought much needed relief from the despair and heartbreak we witnessed in every step we took in Haiti.. On Thursday morning the day began as usual and the little routine we had developed during the week brought with it a welcomed sense of familiarity.. By lunchtime temperatures had soared into the high 40's reaching as hot as 49 degrees celsius at one stage! It was HOT, but with so much work left to be done it was a unanimous decision to stay on the building site an extra hour that evening to get more done to ensure that all the houses were finished by our Friday deadline.. By Thursday night we were all exhausted when we learned that we were to have a surprise performance by none other than the legend that is Garth Brooks.. The campsite went bananas as the familiar sounds of "Achy Breaky Heart" and "Friends in Low Places" were belted out from the stage before Trisha Yearwood joined Garth onstage for a few tunes! Everyone was on a high and ready for the final day's work going to bed that night!.. Arriving on site on Friday morning felt different than every other morning.. Everybody was anxious to get the last of the work on the houses done so that we reached our target of building 100 houses in the week, yet none of us wanted the week to be over.. Our homeowners who had worked with us on site, Sophonie and Juvenka were part of the family by the end of the week.. Sophonie used to meet us every morning with a huge hug and a smile and indeed hugged us all at any opportunity during the day! They worked side by side with us for the week and their faces lit up when they saw the progress they were making.. Both took particular liking to the painting and indeed we were all shocked, and indeed a little jealous when we saw the incredible strength Juvenka showed when hammering in the bloody hurricane clips we had all come to hate so much! That girl had a special way with a hammer which  ...   we turned our goodbyes to the dear dear children who had become our pets for the week, in particular Madeline, Davidson and my own little pet Elvents.. Through broken french and sign language, we explained how this was our last day here with them and we had to leave them but that we loved them all and we would miss playing with them.. With our hearts in our mouths and tears flowing down our faces we took off on the short walk back through the site to the gate where the buses were.. As we walked along in emotional silence I felt a little hand sliding into mine and looked down to see little Elvents clutching my hand as we walked along side by side as far as the gate where he could go no further.. He wrapped his arms around my legs and gave me one final hug before letting go and waving goodbye.. This memory will stay with me forever and even as I write this the tears are flowing again.. In just one short week, this little eight year old boy had captured my heart.. What does the future hold for him in Haiti? If I could have brought him back to Ireland with me I wouldn't even need to think about it.. The people of Haiti, particularly the Santos community, are a special nation.. They have thought us so much throughout the week.. These children continue to smile, laugh and most importantly hope.. These phenominal homeowners, specially Sophonie and Juvenka, who lost everything through one natural disaster after another, continue to be thankful for the little they have.. It is my dream to return some day and see them all again.. They will light up my life for many many years to come.. I left a part of my heart in Haiti, but would I go back? In the morning! I thank each and every one of the Haitians I met, for allowing me the honour of being part of their lives.. They will never know just how much they have given me and for that I will be forever grateful.. Tonight I sleep with dreams of Haiti.. On a final note I just want to thank everyone who's generosity and support allowed me this incredible experience.. I really can't thank each of them enough.. Huge credit also to the Haven team Orla, Cathy, Bo, Suzanne, Antonia, John, Frank and of course John Henry and all his crew who's trojan work made it all possible.. Please help support ongoing projects in Haiti and give a donation no matter how big or small.. Donate Now.. Espwa Pou Ayiti- Hope for Haiti.. Ciamhie Mc.. :).. Please note, all views and comments are Ciamhie's own and not that of Haven..

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  • Title: Ciamhie's Story - Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes - Haven
    Descriptive info: Ciamhie's Story - Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.. The past two days have been busy busy.. We are woken each morning at 5.. 45am to a different tune blaring loudly over the intercom around the packed camp-site With 79 other people sharing my tent there's no chance of sleeping it out or kidding yourself with an extra 5 minutes.. You can only imagine what 80 people sound like first thing in the morning!!.. Quick dash through the camp-site to the toilet and shower block to get dressed and ready for a quick breakfast in the crowded canteen.. All aboard the buses by 7am for the 30 minute bus journey to the building site in Santos, Leogane.. Driving the short distance each morning to the epicentre of the where the earthquake hit still shows plenty of devastation that ripped through this country in 2010, with ruins of houses and piles of rubble gathered along the way.. You quickly move from one emotion to another as you enter through the gates and are met with the smiling faces of the local children screaming and chanting your names - "Keev", "Jes-i-ca", "Ger-al-dine"! Like music to our ears - What a great way to start a hard busy work day!.. With a quick break for lunch at 11.. 30 we are back on site hammering and drilling away n the height of the searing sun.. The Haitians have now taken to pointing at our arms and legs and saying "rouge" with a half laugh at our burnt Irish skin! Although the language barriers are frustrating at times, the Haitians sure understand how  ...   in immaculate uniforms on their way to school.. Without education life in Haiti will never change.. Unfortunately, with no free state education in Haiti, this isn't possible for every child.. School is a privilege for most children here and it is heartbreaking to see the faces of so many children still wandering around the site long after school has started, waiting on their friends to return to play.. We have had the most amazing time with the children this week.. From across the fence, they call our names with big smiles giving us the thumbs up and high-fives! We have thought the children the song "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" with the actions to match and watch their eyes light up each time.. We were fortunate enough to get around to the other side of the fence to play with them properly without the fence in the way and was met with hugs and cheers and arms wrapped around my legs.. I couldn't contain the tears as I walked away.. This incredible experience will live with me forever and I'm sure in many years to come I will be telling my children and grandchildren all about the fun we had with the children in Haiti.. Already I can't wait to see them again in the morning.. With this in mind, I'm off to have dinner with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and no doubt Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood - See there are pluses to communal dining halls!.. Until next time.. Please help support education in Haiti and give a donation no matter how big or small.. or Facebook at..

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  • Title: Ciamhie's Story: Hurricane Clips and Mama Haiti - Haven
    Descriptive info: Ciamhie's Story: Hurricane Clips and Mama Haiti.. What a crazy 3 days it's been! We arrived on site on Sunday morning ready to get stuck in and ready to work! We were introduced to our team (or family!) for the week made up of 3 Haven volunteers and 8 Habitat for Humanity volunteers, 2 of which are also Irish.. We got our instructions and off we went!.. We had to walk through last years site in order to reach the houses we would be working on.. It was incredible to see the progress the site had made in just a short year.. The houses we built last year were well settled with vegetation and changes made along the way.. The houses we would be working on were directly opposite the houses my team had built last year only divided by a fence.. Within an hour of starting work there was a rustle in the bushes the other side of the fence and out popped the head of Andre, a character by all accounts, who was one of the  ...   was a little old lady called Madeline, who was christened Mama Haiti by the whole camp site as she took us under her wing for the week.. What a rock star she was.. Recognizing one of the children from the group as her granddaughter we sent her off in search of the legend herself! A small little head appeared from around a door and as soon as she spotted us she came running through the site, arms open wide cheering our names to give us hugs and kisses.. This was such a magical experience.. If I had to leave Haiti that minute by trip was made!.. The rest of the week has flown by! The long hot days (reaching almost 40 degrees each day!) are tough as we slave away hammering bloody hurricane clips into roofs in the searing heat but when you see a smile and a glimmer of hope on a Haitians face.. it's worth every drop of sweat!.. A truly magical few days and I can't wait for the morning when we return again!.. Until then..

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  • Title: GUEST BLOG: James Codd (Haven Volunteer) - Haven
    Descriptive info: GUEST BLOG: James Codd (Haven Volunteer).. Tap taps, Dioralyte and Hurricane Ties.. For most the above title will not invoke any emotional response and I have to admit that just over 27 months ago I was oblivious too.. I had heard of Haiti but then again it was impossible not to have heard of Haiti after the worldwide media coverage that the country received following the 12th January 2010 when a devastating earthquake ravaged the small Caribbean nation.. Natural disasters at the other side of the world are news today and get relegated the following day by some celebrity opening an envelope or some other news worthy story.. Often in life chance plays its hand and although a long and not particular interesting story I found myself travelling to Haiti with Haven an Irish based NGO engaged in building programs in Haiti.. Was it adventure I was seeking? I m not sure I remember.. But regardless of my initial motivation what I gained was far more long reaching that I could have imagined.. Since April 2011 I have travelled three times to Haiti with Haven and the trips have being well documented on social and other media but what you can t get from a press photo call or a tweet  ...   but also felt that we might be intruding.. Far from intruding the home owners remembered us not that we were from Haven but by our first names and the conversations (using pigeon English and pigeon French) were not the most fluent but they were really happy to see us again and it was almost like meeting a long lost friend.. During the trip last year I met a Haitian man called Junior.. He was not a beneficiary of the project and was not getting paid to help out on the site.. When we asked him why he was helping and what was in it for him? He simply replied, why do you help my people and why can t I.. But what I find I gained most from Haven is the genuine friendship from people whose only common bond is that they really are driven by a desire to help Haiti and who travelled across the Atlantic ocean to build homes and communities for people they never met in a country that most of the world forgot.. Life is harder in Haiti, that is true, but my overwhelming belief is that no problem in Haiti is unsolvable.. Please note, all views and comments are James' own and not that of Haven..

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  • Title: Ciamhie's Story: And We've Arrived... - Haven
    Descriptive info: Ciamhie's Story: And We've Arrived.. What an interesting two days it's been!.. We arrived at Dublin Airport at 8am Friday morning a bag of nerves and excitement! Recognising some familiar faces from last year's trip but delighted to see many new additions.. Haven ambassador Paul O'Connel added to the excitement by greeting us all in the departure lounge and wishing us luck, joined by Haven veteran George Hook.. With all our photos taken (You know everyone wanted their photo taken with the two Irish Legends!) we headed off through security and US customs on our first leg of our two day travel to reach our destination.. First stop - New York where we would spend a few quick hours and grab some much needed rest before our second leg from JFK to Port Au Prince, Haiti.. By the time we arrived in Haiti just after lunch today we were dying to get to the site.. A local Haitian band met us at the airport filling the sticky air with sweet raggae tunes.. This only added to the excitement and sense of occassion as we joined over 500 Habitiat for Humanity volunteers who  ...   Humanity really is to the people of country.. I know I've said it before, but I really do not know how these people get up every monring and motiviate themselves.. This country has been struck by one natural disaster after another without ever having a chance of fully recovering.. The scenes were dim, bleak, devastating and soul destroying, yet there were clear improvements from the same trip we took last year.. We were able to see much more trading and entrepreneurship with small shops and stalls lining the streets of Port Au Prince.. The piles of rubble left from the devastating earthquake that struck nearly 3 years ago have most definitely decreased and building was also much more evident.. The people of Haiti are striving to rebuil.. d Haiti, all they need is a helping hand.. The most moving images I witnessed though was the little glimmer of hope in the eyes of the people lining the street to watch our eleven, 52 seater buses travel in convoy from Port Au Prince Airport to our campsite in Leogane.. Looking forward to sharing our journey with you as the week progresses!.. Stay tuned!..

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  • Title: Ciamhie's Story: 2 days to go - Haven
    Descriptive info: Ciamhie's Story: 2 days to go.. 2 DAYS TO GO.. Haiti Oct 2011- The week that changed my life!.. Just a little taster from my Build it Week trip in 2011! We hope to keep you updated on a daily basis from Haiti next week so please stay tuned.. only 2 days left before we go!.. Build it Week Oct 2011.. As I stepped onto the plane on October 30th, my stomach was one giant ball of knots, a mixture of nerves and excitement.. My head was screaming "What the hell are you getting yourself into"! I was on my way to Haiti as part of 300 volunteers with Irish charity.. Haven Partnership.. to build houses for the homeless of Haiti.. Thankfully I wasn't alone as I was travelling with my mum, dad, two sisters and brother, collectively known for the week as the Brady Bunch! One look around the plane (never mind the two crazy individuals sat beside me) and I knew that no matter what was to come, we were in this together.. We arrived at lunch time into searing heat and a swarm of heavily armed UN, local police and private security men all watching attentively every move we made.. We were quickly escorted straight from the plane onto a fleet of 6 52 seater buses before being lead under tight security from the airport grounds in a convoy of buses, each with it's own armed security guard sitting in the front seat.. In Ireland when a guy tells you he'll show you his guns this is not what I have in mind.. I've only ever seen this amount of weaponry watching Ross Kemp!.. Nothing in my wildest dreams could have ever prepared me for what I was about to see.. As we traveled through the streets of.. Port Au Prince.. the sheer devastating poverty left me utterly motionless with tears flowing down my cheeks.. I could never even begin to properly describe the views from the bus windows as we passed rows and rows of shoe-less children and plastic sheeting made into rows of tents, beside disease infested rivers, that these poor people were reduced to living in following the infamous.. earthquake that struck this beautiful island on January 12th 2010.. taking the lives of approximately 220,000 people.. Don't get me wrong, this destitution was not solely caused by the earthquake.. Haiti has been battling for years through slavery, revolts and the dictator leadership of.. Papa Doc.. and his son who followed him.. The Haitians had very little before January 2010 but whatever they had, had been snatched from them.. As we headed west towards the.. Christianville.. campsite in.. Gressier.. , the deprivation got worse and worse.. Families were lucky if they could find some corrugated metal and plastic sheets to piece together and create a shelter for themselves.. To think that this nation had to endure these terrible conditions, particularly during hurricane season, which had just past, beggars belief.. We pulled up to the site with our faces melting down our clothes - the bloody humidity is unreal! We were met with rows of tents side by side.. If you gave me one of these at home you'd quickly be told where to go, but after the sights we had just witnessed we felt extremely privileged.. We found our beds for the week that would quickly become home, and headed off to the bar/ stage area to learn more about what lay ahead of us for the week.. The realisation of where we were lay firmly in my head that night as the images of the bus journey went over and  ...   we arrived on site in.. Santos, Leogane.. Leogane.. was the epicenter and worst affected area by the 2010 earthquake and there was very little to show for life before the earthquake as we traveled the windy, dangerous dirt tracks to get there.. Surrounded by displaced persons camps and rows of tents for as long as the eye could see we pulled up to the site and once inside the large metal gates we descended the buses and made our way to find our foremen and meet what was to become our team (family) for the week.. I was to be on the "House team" for the week, my dad and brother were the same although they were on other teams further down the site.. My two sisters were assigned to the painting team and my Mum to the water team.. After meeting my team (Foreman Gerry, Gerry Mc, Aidy, Frank, Paul, Rosemary and Aileen) we gathered our tools and nervously made our way to our individual houses we were to work on for the week.. I can barely change a light bulb so you can imagine what I felt like surrounded by scaffolding and tools and ladders! It quickly became apparent that I what you didn't know - you would learn, as it was all hands on deck this week! Thankfully we were lucky to have at least a few people on our team who knew what they were up to!! It wasn't long before we all fell into our little roles within the team and we were all busy working away together on getting the frame of the house together.. The foundations along with concrete walls waist high had already been built by local Haitians employed by the charity and each team was tasked with finishing two houses, from the timber walls and roofs to the doors and window shutters.. We had no sooner started when we were joined by a Haitian worker, Santir (who was affectionatley christened "Santa" for the day).. Santir spoke broken English and explained how he had lost his family and home in the earthquake and was now living with his uncle in Port Au Prince.. He had traveled to the Santos site that morning in search of work to help his uncle.. He became part of the team as we laughed and joked throughout the day whilst working.. The water team regularly swung by to ensure we had water and kept hydrated and boy were we happy to see them with temperatures well in the 40 degree Celsius bracket.. Local Haitian workers along with recipients of the houses worked side by side with us throughout the day and from chats and conversations aided by the translators on site we got an insight into what life was like as a Haitian.. To this day I don't know how these people get up in the morning.. They have nothing and very little hope of ever getting anything.. It is absolutely heartbreaking and extremely hard to accept.. We had a quick 15 minute break in the morning for a drink and a snack and an hour at lunch when temperatures reached the max and it was too dangerous for us to be out in the sun.. By the time 5pm rolled around and it was time to return to the buses for our journey back to site we were utterly exhausted.. That first journey back to site was very quiet indeed with very little for people to say as the realisation of the days events and our surroundings hit home.. For up to the minute news you can follow Haven on Twitter at..

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  • Title: Welcome to Haven's new blog - Haven
    Descriptive info: Welcome to Haven's new blog.. Posted by Haven.. This blog will allow us the opportunity to keep you up to date with all things Haven!.. As we are about to venture into Haven s last Build It Week, Haven s veteran volunteer Ciamhie McCrory will be updating the blog daily on her experiences while on Build It Week.. Keep posted!.. Only 1 day left #HavenBiW..

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